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Nigerian journalist attacked after photographing women praying for peace

Kamarudeen Ogundele,
Kamarudeen Ogundele, "The Punch" correspondent attacked in Ado Ekiti

Media Rights Agenda

This statement was originally published on mediarightsagenda.net on 4 June 2015.

At about noon on 3 June 2015, political thugs suspected to be working for Mr. Ayodele Fayose, the governor of Ekiti state in southwest Nigeria, assaulted Mr. Kamarudeen Ogundele, the state correspondent of the daily Punch newspaper while he was taking pictures of the unfolding political drama in the state.

Ogundele was in Ado Ekiti, the state capital, to cover the ongoing political crisis in the state, following attempts by 19 state lawmakers from the All Progressives Congress to impeach the governor and the governor's frantic efforts to frustrate the move.

Ogundele was taking photographs of women praying for peace in the state – about 200 metres away from the state House of Assembly complex – when the thugs descended on him, beating him with various weapons. They tore his clothes to shreds in the process.

Narrating his ordeal, Ogundele said, "I was about leaving the place when I saw the women praying for peace to reign in the state. I felt it was a spiritual approach to the trouble in the state, so I decided to take the picture. The thugs emerged from their hideouts and swooped on me."

"I kept shouting 'I'm a journalist' but they did not show me mercy as they pounced on me. They were like 50 persons kicking me all at the same time. They dragged me out of the car and continued hitting me. At a time, one of them went to carry a big plank of wood in an attempt to hit my head."

"Two policemen raced to the scene to intervene, but they were overwhelmed by the mob. One of the policemen started shouting, 'run, run, run, don't let them kill you!' I thought the end had come because they continued beating me. Luckily for me, a few among them felt they had beaten me enough and started fighting their colleagues to let me go. I capitalised on their disagreement and with the help of the police, I quickly escaped."

Governor Fayose has reportedly apologized for the attack on the journalist, saying the actions of the hooligans should not be taken as that of his government.

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